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tv   CBS News Sunday Morning  CBS  November 1, 2009 9:00am-10:30am EST

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>> mason: good morning. charles osgood is off today. i'm anthony mason and this is sunday morning. the sunday morning after halloween to be precise. confronted by mysterious happenings on a spooky night, even the most skeptical among us might be tempted to say it's magic. still before we concede too much to the practitioners of hocus pocus, we might want to consider what science has to say. which is just what john blackstone will be doing in our sunday morning cover story. >> never used one of these without smuggling on a fire extinguisher. >> reporter: when magicians penn and teller are on stage, teller never speaks but we got him to talk about magic and the inner workings of the brain. he's helping neuro scientists use magic to understand human perception. does it ruin any of that magic to boil it down to neurons and the way connections are made
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between the eyes and the brain? >> it makes it better. >> reporter: later on sunday morning, magic under the microscope. >> mason: precious is a new film that tells a harrowing story in a most compelling way thanks in large part to the real-life stories of the talented people behind it. this morning katie couric weaves their different tales together. >> couric: want the formula for a movie that's getting big buzz? take a taboo subject, put a hollywood outsider in the director's chair. >> it was too close to where i'm from. people rarely embrace me. >> reporter: and give a plus- sized inexperienced actress the lead. in the span of three days you went from college student to movie star. >> yes. it's just that easy. >> couric: the unlikely journey of precious later on sunday morning. >> mason: the bee gees are a band of brothers who have gone through plenty of ups and downs in a musical career
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spanning a full half century. now after a long and sad hiatus, the two surviving brothers are returning to the studio. they're one of the world's most popular groups but the bee gees have been silent since brother morris's death seven years ago. now barry and robin gibb are rehearsing again. does it come back easily? >> yeah, the more you do it, the stronger it gets. >> reporter: later the comeback of the bee gees. >> mason: there's one competition where the winner is always certain to win by a hair. though not everyone can enter, our bill geist made the cut. snoft moustache ♪ >> reporter: the moustache is back. but for some of us, it never went away. later on sunday morning, we'll see how i fare as a nominee for the coveted moustache
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american of the year award presented here in st. louis, home of the world's largest moustache. >> mason: the staple of halloween, the jack owe lantern. we get up close and personal with zombies and more but first the headlines for this sunday morning, the first of november, 2009. hamid karzai is virtually assured of another term as afghanistan's president after his main challenger withdrew his candidacy this morning. abdullah abdullah said he did not believe a fair election was possible following the original fraud-tainted vote in august. the health insurance industry has argued for months now that offering a government-run alternative would undermine private carriers. but a study from the non-partisan congressional budget office finds that only 2% of americans under age 65 would sign up for the much debated option. a cleveland man was taken into custody yesterday after six
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decomposing bodies were found in the basement of his home. police set up a command post outside suspect anthony saul's house. they're hoping to get information about people missing in the neighborhood. about 2,000 kids turned up at the white house last night to collect goodie bags from president and mrs. obama. at the same time the obamas welcomed military familys to the executive mansion. to the president campaigns for embattled new jersey governor john corzine. the democrat corzine is in a tightly contested race tuesday, a race which could be seen as a referendum on administration policies. in philadelphia last night, a rain delay of nearly an hour-and-a-half proved no treat for the phillies. the yankees overcame an early deficit to take a 2-1 lead in the world series. the game ended well after midnight in a drizzle. which brings us to today's weather. after a wet start it should be mostly dry in the northeast while some cool november rain will fall in the southeast and northwest. the place to be in week ahead is down south where people can
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expect a few warm, dry and beautiful days. next, and ra... abracadabra and later court side with magic johnson and larry bird. and keeping up with the bee gees.
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>> mason: watch this.
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prefto-change-o. it's magic. well, maybe not the way i do it. still there are real magicians out there practicing an age-old craft. now real scientists are studying their secrets. john blackstone reports our cover story. >> here we go. ♪ the old black magic called love ♪ > las vegas can be a magical place. >> she's okay. she's okay. >> reporter: it certainly is for penn and teller who have been performing magic in their own las vegas theater for almost eight years. >> actually she's not okay. >> reporter: the house is packed every night. a testament to both penn and tiller's draw and to the universal appeal of magic itself. >> i'll do all the talking. >> reporter: teller, who never says a word on stage broke his silence for our interview but insisted that we not show his
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moving lips. what makes for successful trick. >> the core of a successful& trick is an interesting and beautiful idea. that taps into something that you would like to have happen. one of the things we do in our live show is i squeeze handfuls of water and they turn into cascades of money. that's an interesting and beautiful idea. the deception is really secondary. the idea is first. because the idea needs to capture your imagination. >> magic does something really that no other kind of performing art can do. and that is that it manipulates the here and now, our reality. >> reporter: knoll daniel in los angeles has just edited a book on the history of magic. >> when we're watching a movie we don't think what we're watching is real. we know it's not. we're staring in a dark room at a lit screen. in magic we're watching someone manipulate a coin, cards, fire or sawing a woman in half right on stage in front of our very eyes. and this is the power of magic.
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>> reporter: daniels spent over a year compiling old, rare images of magic through the ages. she says the first magic performance is thought to have been in egypt around 2000 b.c., a shaman proving his powers to the pharaoh. >> he took a duck and decapitated its head and then restored the head to a living animal. of course, this impressed the king very much. >> reporter: but the impression made by magicians has not always been as positive. during the middle ages in europe, they were sometimes accused of witch craft and were banned from certain towns. only by the late 16th century did suspicion give way to applause as magic assumed its place among the performing arts. for centuries to follow, crowds would watch in wonder, consumed by a question that still resonates today. >> how does the magician get the audience member to believe? that's where the magic takes
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place. >> reporter: how magic works and why we keep falling under its spell is now the subject of some serious investigation. not in the magician's workshop but here at a leading center for neuro logical research. scientists say magicians sometimes understand more than they do about the mysterious workings of the human brain. >> the more we thought about it, the more we realized that magicians actually had skills that we didn't have as scientists. >> reporter: that was a humbling realization for two harvard-educated neuro scientists at the barrow neuro logical institute in phoenix. >> what we're trying to figure out is why the tricks work in the mind of the spectator. and what are the brain principles behind it. >> reporter: so in the interest of neuro science, the two researchers have been collaborating with several magicians including teller. >> that's what the art of magic is really for its the playground for perceptions. >> mr. mac king!
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( cheers and applause ) >> reporter: mac king, who does a comedy magic act in las vegas has been helping with the research too. >> i'm ready to see a trick. >> a fig newton. >> reporter: we asked king to come to the barrow neuro logical institute to show us how the magicians and neuro scientists are working together. king performed while i wore a device that tracked my eyes. >> you know you can tell you have real rockport shoes. they have these big rocks in them. a graph of my eye movement showed how king manipulated my attention. no wonder i was fooled. i was looking in all the wrong places. >> here again you're lost because he has completely buried the underlying message. now your eyes are following a different pattern. you're at a loss. >> i don't know where to look. >> you think you can see everything all at once when you can't. that's an illusion created by your brain. it allows us to navigate the world normally. the fact is that magicians are able to take advantage of that
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by knowing that you can only focus in one place while they do something somewhere else. >> teller thinks a lot about magicians manipulate the brain to make us think we see things we really don't see. >> if i have a ball and take it like that, your attention goes up there. what's important is that your attention is going up there, not that, you know, the ball is secretly hidden in my hand. when i'm holding this here i hold it very tightly. i hold it more tightly than i do normally. i hold these fingers more tightly so you see the strain in my fingers. that helps convince you. >> every time you've done that i still haven't... i still imagine it's going into your other hand. teller is one of five magicians who with mac king and martinez conday co-authored an academic article on the science of magic last year. >> thank you very much for your help. >> reporter: mac king, who also contributed says magicians sometimes manipulate
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our minds simply by aiming at our funny bone. >> can 4s into 8s and the 8s into i was going to say little pieces. kentucky public school. that's not a joke. >> if you want to get away with something, make somebody laugh. that's really it. when you're laughing you can't pay attention. to the secret little thing i need to do. >> my grandpa though, his two pieces were like this. quite a bit closer. >> reporter: martinez and mac king who drew 7,000 neuro scientists to a recent conference where they discussed magic is a say there's more to their work than sheer gee whiz. for one thing it could change the way disorders like autism are diagnosed. >> we predict that autistics will detect the method in a magic trick better than someone with a ph.d. autistics are people with deficits in joint attention so they not
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only can't pay attention very well to people and where they're supposed to pay attention but they're repulsed by it. therefore they're paying attention to the things that the magician doesn't want them to be paying attention to. >> so what we have proposed is that one can use magic tricks as a tool for early diagnosis of autism. >> reporter: whether their research will achieve this ambitious goal remains to be seen. for now, what's certain is that the scientific analysis of magic poses an essential question for those who make a living at it. does it rye unany of that magic to poile it down to neurons and the way connections are made between the eyes and the brain?& >> it makes it better. some people believe that sign tiffs are out to take away the mystery. really all they're doing is going deeper into it. the deeper you go into a mystery, the deeper the mystery always becomes. ( applause )
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>> mason: ahead, the most famous ceiling in the world. now your chase card let's you make your own payment plan for what you charge. introducing blueprint. blueprint's free and exclusively for chase customers. for a big purchase, there's split. it lets you decide how much... or how many months you want to pay. so you can be comfortable managing all of your large purchases. if having a plan matters, chase what matters. create your own blueprint at chase.com/blueprint. be aware of your surroundings. don't ignore obvious signs. stay hydrated at all times.
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>> mason: and now a page from our sunday morning almanac. november 1, 1512. 497 years ago today. the day the italian renaissance reached a dazzling new height. for it was on that all saint's day that pope julius ii celebrated the first mass beneath the just completed art work on the ceiling of the vatican sistine chapel. the pope had awarded the job in 1508 to michelangelo of florence. for four years michelangelo had labored on scaffolding nearly 70 feet high, all the while battling the pope over the contents and the pace of his work. a conflict dramatized in the film "agony and ecstasy" the rex harrison and charlton heft on. >> when will you make an end? >> when i'm finished. >> mason: when michelangelo finally was finished, the
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result was a master piece. a series of nine scenes from the book of genesis. ♪ among them the famous creation of adam, the expulsion from the garden of eden, and the great flood. smaller paintings depicted other bible scenes along with old testament prophets and the ancestors of christ. the passage of time eventually obscured and darkened michelangelo's work prompting a wholesale restoration during the 1980s. ♪ the result was a breath taking revelation of bright color that thrills most visitors although some critics say the makeover distorts michelangelo's original work. whatever the truth, the ceiling is one of rome's treasures and a fitting crown for the space in which the college of cardinals chooses
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each new pope. nearly 500 years old now, the ceiling still has mortals doing what pope julius and michelangelo always wanted them to be doing: looking up. coming up, the face of halloween. so i was surprised when my doctor told me i still had high cholesterol. that really hit me, and got me thinking about my health. i knew i had to get my cholesterol under control. but exercise and eating healthy weren't enough for me. now i trust my heart to lipitor. (announcer) when diet and exercise are not enough, adding lipitor has been shown to lower bad cholesterol 39 to 60%. lipitor is backed by over 17 years of research. lipitor is not for everyone,
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>> mason: a reminder daylight saving time ended this morning. it's time to fall back one hour. now ever wonder why we call them jack-o-lanterns? our contributor faith salie is
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here to answer that question and show us quite a collection besides. >> reporter: in the heart of new york's hudson valley where washington irving's headless horseman rides, a new spook- tacular tradition has arisen. take one humble jack-o-lantern, multiply it by 4,000, add some whimsy and creepyness and you have yourself the great jack-o-lantern blaze. >> the jack-o-lantern is an irish creation. >> reporter: artist and his team transform this colonial manor house into a halloween wonder land using real and molded plastic pumpkins they call fun-kins. so why is fun-kins at all? >> well, they don't rot. >> reporter: how do fun-kin seeds taste? >> kind of chilly. no, there's no seed. >> reporter: he creates
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dinosaurs, skeletons, even crates of lost souls. >> now these are what are referred to as soul effigies or angels of death. they're all based upon 18th century head stones, many of which are modeled after ones down at sleepy hollow cemetery. >> reporter: 4,000 visitors a night come to marvel at the jack-o-lanterns. that's a one-to-one ratio of pumpkin to person. what is it that it touches in people? >> many people say it's like another world. >> reporter: that's got to make you feel amazing as an artist. >> absolutely. >> reporter: to say you've created another world. >> that's a ultimate compliment. >> reporter: while he is haunted year round by the need to create new and ghoulish gourd designs, you know what they say. it takes a village to make a blaze. so every october hundreds of candle lighters, carvers and volunteer scoopers descend. knives in hand.
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why are you so strict about scooping? >> the battle against mold. >> reporter: but mold always wins. >> almost all the pumpkins we do per week we replace. if you come and you see a real pumpkin one week, the next week that real pump kin won't be there. it shows all the different types of things we do because you'll never see two of the real same pumpkin scooped ever. >> reporter: a snow flake. the first jack-o-lantern was somewhat sinister according to irish legend. story goes that a wiley black smith named stingy jack cheated the devil one too many times. so when st. peter bounced him from the pearly gates, even hell wouldn't have him. stingy jack was doomed to wander for eternity but at least the devil tossed him an ember to light jack's lantern, carved from his favorite food. >> the original jack-o-lantern had been a turnip. it wasn't a pumpkin.
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but when when they came here to the u.s., they adopted the pumpkins. >> reporter: those pumpkins by daylight appear fanciful and fun. but by night become erie and awe-inspiring. >> there are so many little intricate carvings. you can't walk through here in just a few minutes and see all the detail. it's incredible art work. >> reporter: thanks to stingy jack, the legacy of the lowly turnip has caught fire here at the blaze. >> mason: ahead, still more magic. best friends magic johnson and larry bird. >> forget the color of the skin. we're just alike. we're just alike. ♪ you can tell by the way i walk ♪ i'm a woman's man ♪ ♪ no time to talk >> mason: and later sunday morning fever with the bee gees.
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>> mason: magic johnson and larry bird were quite the basketball players in their day, quite the competitors too. today they're best of friends and happy to talk about how that came to be. jim axelrod has the view from court side. >> reporter: it doesn't happen
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often in the world of sports. two great champions face off in their primes and push each other to levels they would have never reached on their own. muhammad ali and joe frazier are the gold standard, but they didn't end up best friends which makes the rivalry born 30 years ago when magic johnson played larry bird for the college basketball championship a rivalry like no other. >> fouled by bird. >> he was smiling all the time. my goal my whole career was to knock out his two front teeth. then he wouldn't be smiling so much. >> when i saw larry i wasn't smiling. now normally i have a nice big smile but larry bird took that smile right away. >> here's larry bird across the court. >> reporter: during his hall of fame career playing for the boston celtics, larry bird was a one-man highlight show. dazzling no-look passes, last-
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second buzzer beaters. no one was better when the game was on the line. >> he was cocky and confident. he looked at you and would tell you, you can't stop me. i'm going to get about 40 tonight. then he would go out there and get 40. >> five seconds to go. magic with a hook shot. scores with two. >> reporter: magic johnson ran the fast-breaking show-time offense of the los angeles lakers. he won five nba championships with sleight of hand and a joyful exuberance. >> i always thought he was like a step ahead of everyone else. his intelligence was above and beyond anyone else i played against. >> reporter: they both grew up poor. johnson in lansing, michigan; bird, the pride of french lick, indiana. as a teenager, bird wore out this back board nail to the garage of his childhood home. he practiced endlessly,
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heeding a warning from his high school coach. >> when i was getting late he came by and told me, he says, no matter what you do out here there's always somebody doing a little bit more. >> reporter: did you believe him? >> i believed him. he was right. it was magic. >> reporter: bird and johnson first met on a college all star team in 1978. >> and he looks like a guy who just got off a dump truck. i mean, hair not combed or brushed. he's sloppy dresser so everybody is wrinkled. he just... larry bird does not look like a basketball player. when he got to that court and we started scrimmaging, man, did he come alive. >> you know, i can remember going home after the... that and telling my older brother i've seen the best basketball player i've ever seen. you know, he goes on. yeah, yeah, whatever. then once he sees magic play, he came back and said, you're right. he is better than you.
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that motivated me to try to get better and better and better. i knew we would meet again. >> beautiful. a steal by johnson. >> reporter: for the next 15 years they were obsessed with each other. not just during the three times the lakers and celtics squared off for the nba championship. >> magic johnson tie the game. >> reporter: but even during summer workouts when they were supposed to be taking it easy. >> the ultimate respect that larry bird got especially in the black community, the african-american community. i don't care if he's white or not, that guy can sure play basketball. you're sitting in the barber shop and people are talking about larry bird, larry bird, larry bird. i'm sitting there, hurry up and cut my hair. i have to get into the gym. it would drive me crazy. >> reporter: that's the way it stayed until 1985 when converse, the sneaker company, paid big bucks to get both men to film a commercial at larry
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bird's home outside french lick. >> okay, magic. show me what you got. >> reporter: typically they exchanged few words during the morning shoot. and then they broke for lunch. >> i'm thinking i'm going to my trailer to eat. he said, no, man, you're eating with me. my mom prepared lunch for us up there in the house. >> yeah, we talked. we talked quite a bit that day. it wasn't about basketball. it was about, you know, how he grew up. about his family. >> it was like an hour, an hour-and-a-half break. we talked about everything from us growing up poor and how we grew up. and it was just on and on and on. the rest of the commercial they couldn't get us to stop talking. >> reporter: the ice may have started to melt during magic johnson's trip here to this court at larry bird's home to film the commercial, but there was no way these two men would be able to go any deeper with their friendship, at least not then. not while they were both still playing.
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>> announcer: l.a. comes to boston and wins the world title. >> reporter: they played against each other for seven more seasons until one day in 1991, their days as rivals came to a stunning end. >> because of the h.i.v. virus that i have attained, i will have to retire from the lakers. >> when i announced h.i.v., the first call i got was larry bird. the first call. you know, he's crying, just, you know, checking on me. after all we been through, you know, and all the battles and all the wars. here he's taking the time to just say, "man, i love you. i care about you. i hope everything is all right. what can i do?" what can i do to help you?
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>> reporter: you hung up the phone and? >> couldn't sleep. at that time i thought it was a death sentence. >> reporter: the games were over. and something real and lasting was emerging in their place. >> and now the united states of america. >> reporter: the next summer johnson came out of retirement to join bird on the dream team that won a gold medal at the 1992 olympics. there they discovered the same passion that had driven them apart now bound them tightly together. >> the one thing that i know is if i ever had problems with my son or with my marriage, anything, if i call him, he will be there. and vice versa. >> reporter: in life you don't get but so many people that you know would be there in the middle of the night. >> one in my case. i've got a lot of good friends but one, it's him.
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>> wow. he's going to make me start crying in a second here. he shouldn't have said that. oh, boy. we'll always be there for each other. forget the color of the skin. we're just alike. we're just alike. >> reporter: their playing days behind them, both men have found success off the court. larry bird runs the nba's indiana pacers. magic johnson has built a $700 million business empire headquartered in beverly hills. and they've collaborated on a new book about their years together. it's the story of how their competitive fires needed to be tamped down before they could basque in the warmth of real friendship. >> i always said if he grew up or we grew up in the same towns and we played basketball,
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we'd have been best friends. >> we may not talk for two or three months but, boy, we get on that phone, you thought we were talking every day. that's what makes it beautiful. that we don't have to talk every day. but he knows i got him and i know he got me. >> mason: next. >> they always have this kind of connection. >> mason: quite a sight. at the hartford, we've helped you seize them... for over 200 years. protecting what you have today. preparing you for tomorrow. visit thehartford.com to learn more. and with the hartford behind you, achieve what's ahead of you. the hartford. insurance. investments. retirement. ♪ insurance. investments. retirement.
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while i was building my friendships, my family, while i was building my life, my high cholesterol was contributing to plaque buildup in my arteries. that's why my doctor prescribed crestor. she said plaque buildup in arteries is a real reason to lower cholesterol. and that along with diet, crestor does more than lower bad cholesterol, it raises good. crestor is also proven to slow the buildup of plaque in arteries. crestor isn't for everyone, like people with liver disease, or women who are nursing, pregnant, or may become pregnant. simple blood tests will check for liver problems. you should tell your doctor about other medicines you are taking, or if you have muscle pain or weakness. that could be a sign of serious side effects. while you've been building your life, plaque may have been building in your arteries. find out more about slowing the buildup of plaque at crestor.com. then ask your doctor if it's time for crestor. announcer: if you can't afford your medication, astrazeneca may be able to help.
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because we believe that ideas are limitless. that's why, everyday at ge, thousands of scientists and researchers at our global research centers and throughout the company are redefining what's possible by creating the advanced technologies that create jobs. the american renewal is happening right now. >> mason: how far would a couple be willing to go to find just the right child to bring into their home? steve hartman can tell us. >> reporter: people will adopt older kids. they'll adopt disabled kids and neglected kids. kids who can't read. kids who can't talk.
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there are people willing to adopt. but all those things in one child? nobody wanted that. born blind, pan-du was dumped at a hospital gate in india at the orphanage he was the one child who was there year after year until last year. when the five-year-old got swept up by a denver couple who said he was just what they were looking for. a little boy with his father's eyes. >> come on, buddy. >> reporter: jason fair teaches blind people how to be self-sufficient. when he and his wife who can see decided to ray don't, they chose not just to give any child a home but to give one special child a real chance. a chance he would have never had otherwise. >> i think we can offer something to a blind child that maybe a lot of other families can't. >> reporter: wow, really? did you ever wish you were a
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deaf person and not a blind person? >> occasionally i did. >> reporter: he can laugh about it now because pan-du is so much better than what they got him. after five years in a crib are virtually no human contact, they say pan-du was almost wild. but a year later he's in a mainstreamed pre-school. >> look at that. >> reporter: he's beginning to speak for the very first time. he's even learning the finer points of picking out a pumpkin. of course he chose the braille one. like father, like son. >> jason was so worried about being a good dad. i was never worried about being a good mom. it's ironic to me it was opposite, that i struggled so much. jason never struggled. pan-du and him have always had this kind of connection. >> reporter: although it will be years before pan-du can fully appreciate the enormity of his good fortune, it's no doubt he understands something pretty special is happening to him. >> the end. >> reporter: you don't have to
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be a blind man to see that. >> good night, buddy. >> mason: ahead, the world of "precious." boss: ah! thank goodness you're back.
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if you haven't heard about the movie "precious," you may after it premieres on friday. its based on a real-life incident and was brought to life by a group of remarkable people. "cbs evening news" anchor katie couric has their stories. >> precious, you want to stand up there and look down at me like you're a woman. you don't know what real women do. real women sacrifice. >> couric: it's not some feel- good friday night date movie. >> get down here. >> couric: or a big budget popcorn thriller. in fact, "precious" at times is so hard to watch, you can't
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look away. >> my name is... i go by precious. >> couric: precious is black, obese, illiterate, pregnant for the second time by her father, and physically and verbally abused by her mother. >> you're a dummy. don't nobody want you. don't nobody need you. school ain't going to help none. take your ass down to the welfare. >> reporter: and she still dares to dream of a better life. i think she's very appealing in the movie but at first blush people might not think precious is very appealing. was there a part of you that was ambivalent about it? >> no, because i've lived my life with people not thinking i was beautiful anyway. no, never even crossed my mind. >> couric: now that the movie precious has plucked her from virtual obscurity, 26-year-old gavara says the world's sudden interest in her takes some getting used to.
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>> every time i'm in the airport like the people are like, oh, my good. you're that girl that's almost famous. you're about to famous. i'm like yeah. >> couric: it was on one of her waning days of anonimity that i caught up with her and her two new york roommates.... >> you're the light-skinned boyfriend. i get that a lot. >> reporter: and adam carol, a musician. do you feel like, adam, hey, what about me? >> i'm happy to be that dude who is with the two almost famous people. i don't care. >> reporter: but the movie's journey to the big screen is as unusual and unlikely as gaybby's. >> i'm here because i love to teach. >> reporter: in this case art imitated life. the life of a former teacher turned poet who calls herself sapphire. ♪ it took a long time >> reporter: in 1996, she
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wrote the novel "push." a mosaic of her remembrances teaching literacy to harlem teenagers during the 1980s. there was an encounter with one young woman she never forgot. >> she was 32 years old. she told me that she had to arrange for a baby-sitter for her mentally impaired daughter. she said my daughter is 20. she's 32. i said, well, what happened? how did... she said, i had a baby when i was 12. by my father. >> couric: the character of precious is loosely based on that woman. >> it's not a rags to riches story. it's not the biggest loser. she doesn't lose 100 pounds and find a boyfriend. we watch small changes affect her life. >> we're defining our relationships right now about who we are. >> couric: "push" became an
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underground classic one that an underdog film maker couldn't put down. >> i knew that i couldn't go around to studios pitching this story because i knew they would not sort of embrace the story. >> couric: why not? >> because it was too close to where i'm from. people rarely embrace me. ♪ now that i know who i am >> couric: he grew up in south philadelphia where he says he saw people like precious every day. on the streets, in the 'hood and in the mirror. >> growing up gay in the projects, in the ghetto, is hard. it's hard enough growing up there. but growing up as an outsider in that environment is terrifying. >> couric: daniels had already produced the critically acclaimed monster's ball when he began to pursue some might say stall being sapphire for the film rights to "push." >> you were like a dog with a bone. >> (growling)
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>> reporter: but saf firp didn't bite. >> i didn't want heavy set black women to look to see a movie image of someone like "precious" and feel ashamed. >> couric: you didn't want it to be exploited. >> so i just said no. >> couric: after seeing daniel's directoral debut, an unconventional movie about a female a sass indiagnosed with cancer she gave in. >> i just thought this is someone who is willing to take risk and at the same time is a real artist. >> reporter: but who would put up $10 million for a film teeming with topics considered taboo? enter a golden girl from bolder, colorado. >> what's a nice girl like you doing in a movie like that? >> that's a very good question. i may be out of place of sorts but it's weird. i sort of fit in in a strange way. >> couric: sarah siegel madness already an heiress to a tea company teamed up with her equally wealthy husband
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gary magnus. they became the billionaires behind scene when lee daniels gave my husband and i the script i felt almost as if the pages of the script constricted my blood flow. it could have been my mother. it could have been a sister. it could be your neighbor. >> i had to cancel my classs in order to film. >> reporter: although precious could be anybody not just anybody could take on such a harrowing role. they canvassed the country auditioning more than 400 girls but it was lehman college in the bronx where a star was born. thanks to the persistance of assistant theater director henry valis. >> i believe i called her the night before and i said there's this role i read the description. this is you. you have to make it. she said i have class tomorrow. i'm like listen tough to get out of the class. you have to be here. >> couric: she was studying psychology at city college in new york but had performed in producings at lehman. >> i had to like learn how to be a little bit of a diva on the stage.
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>> couric: she was a pirate and indian in peter pan and glenda the good witch in the wiz. >> come on over here and rest a while. look at the trip you made. >> couric: did you ever entertain thoughts of, you know, hey, i would like to do this possibly as a live something. >> not ever. a girl like me, there's no way. no one has ever told me that i can make a living, you know, being an actress just because i don't look like most actresses do. i never thought i could. and i didn't want to. >> you don't know nothing about my life. i never had no boyfriend. >> reporter: but gabby cut class and went to the audition and transformed herself from a confident college co-ed to a lost and wounded soul. >> my father raped me, beat me. called me an animal. >> couric: how did you audition for a role that is really so foreign to your life? >> it's foreign to me personally but not foreign to
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my life. i mean, i know this girl. i recognize precious in my friends and family and in people i didn't want to be friends with. >> couric: but she is so, so damaged and so... i mean, in every possible way. completely without hope. that's a distant place for you, isn't it? many ways? >> without hope. i've been there. i didn't always have such confidence. one day i just had to kind of sit down with myself and learn to really love myself and to be happy with myself because i'm the only one whose opinion matters. i have to sleep with myself. i wake up with myself every day. so i can't let anyone else diminish any confidence that i may have. >> couric: in fact, lee daniels' casting choices were all unconventional. m monique plays the monsterous
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mother. rocker lenny kravitz a male nurse. >> you've never seen a male nurse? >> no. >> reporter: and mariah carey, a decidedly unglamorous social worker. >> you let him abuse your daughter. >> i did not want him to do that. >> reporter: some critics have charged that precious does precious little to challenge stereotypes. but once sapphire watched the movie with a nearly all white audience she said she realized its theme was universal. >> they gave us a standing ovation and then a white woman in the back stood up and she said, i'm 60 years old. and this is my story. >> reporter: since then the movie has won two other very influential fans. oprah winfrey and tyler perry signed on as executive producers which may make what could be considered an art house film a commercial success. and as gabby adjusts to life
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on the red carpet, she says she's mindful of who this movie is dedicated to. precious girls every where. girls just like her. >> ultimately i hope it means that people will not count me out because of my size. i just hope that people can get past what i look like, what other people look like and looks in general and see the heart and the soul of a person. >> mason: next, a stroll with the zombies.
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>> mason: being that yesterday was halloween, you might have noticed the owe blig er to super hero or the occasional witch. but did you perhaps encounter a zombie?
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zombies, the walking dead. have theirate roots in haitian view due. lohr has it that the very first zombies were brought back to life through black magic usually as an unwilling slave to serve a sinister master. >> we don't know how far back the legend of the view due zombie goes. it comes from an oral tradition. we know that the roots come from the caribbean which can trace their roots back to west africa. >> reporter: mel brooks' son max brooks is something of a zombie zealot. he's written two books on a subject he finds downright lively. >> there are many sub genres of undead. there are viewed uwe zombies and flesh-eating zombies. there are dancing zombies. there are running zombies. there are talking zombies. zombies keep mutating. >> mason: just how the zombie
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was transformed from this into this is pretty much due to one man. >> george romero, the night of the living dead. >> george romero was an independent film maker out of pittsburgh who came up with the idea that zombies could also be cannibals and introduced this whole apocalypse doomsday scenarios. >> mason: david edelstein is our sunday morning film critic. >> zombies are a blank slate. you can project almost anything you want to. >> what did they come here? kind of instinct. was an important place in their lives. >> you can make a left wing movie, a sort of anti-capitalist movie like dawn of the dead in which they become the ultimate mindless consumers. you can make a right wing movie where they stand for the communist threat. >> danger. >> the invasion of the red menace and the elimination of all individualism.
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>> mason: in fact, with recent box office hits, blockbuster video games and dozens of comic books, zombies are experiencing something of a revival. they're even showing up this zombie-fied classic books from the 19th century. zombies are cropping almost daily. >> what do we want? when do we want them? now. >> reporter: these people are on what's called a zombie crawl giving the streets of new york city's halloween central greenwich village paying homage to zombies the world over. raising a glass to their favorite ghoul. to so many bee authorities like max brooks, our current fascination with these supernatural creatures may come from a very human emotion. >> i think right now zombies
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are popular because they play on our very real anxieties of the world around us. we're living in a time of extreme anxiety and global anxiety. you can't shoot h1n1 in the head. you can do that with a zombie. >> mason: small wonder that in the world of the supernatural these days, zombies are super popular but be forewarned. >> the biggest tip i can give someone is is if you're going to write a zombie book or come out as a zombie fan, get a girlfriend first (screaming). >> mason: next, the brothers gibb. the bee gees. and later.... >> here's a guy with a moustache. >> mason: bill geist in a hairy situation. >> can i have your vote?
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i feel like i have to wind myself up just to get out of bed. then...well... i have to keep winding myself up to deal with the sadness, the loss of interest, the trouble concentrating, the lack of energy. if depression is taking so much out of you, ask your doctor about pristiq®. (announcer) pristiq is a prescription medicine proven to treat depression. pristiq is thought to work by affecting the levels of two chemicals in the brain, serotonin and norepinephrine. tell your doctor right away if your depression worsens or you have unusual changes in mood, behavior, or thoughts of suicide. antidepressants can increase suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children, teens and young adults. pristiq is not approved for children under 18. do not take pristiq with maois. taking pristiq with nsaid pain relievers, aspirin, or blood thinners may increase bleeding risk. tell your doctor about all your medications, including those for migraine, to avoid a potentially life-threatening condition. pristiq may cause or worsen high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or glaucoma.
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tell your doctor if you have heart disease... or before you reduce or stop taking pristiq. side effects may include nausea, dizziness and sweating. (woman) for me, pristiq is a key in helping to treat my depression. (announcer) ask your doctor about pristiq. ♪.... >> it's sunday morning on cbs
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and here again is anthony mason. >> mason: it's songs like jive talk that won the bee gees a place in the rock'n'roll hall of fame. now in the aftermath of personal loss and estrangement the two surviving bee gees are back and in harmony once again. ♪ >> mason: it's been a while since we've heard from the bee gees. ♪ i want my life to be, to be with you ♪ >> it's been a few years since we've heard our voices together. ♪ you don't know what it's like ♪ >> mason: but barry and robin gibb have started rehearsing again. ♪ you don't know what it's like now ♪ ♪ to love somebody >> mason: does it come back easily? >> yeah and the more you do it,
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the stronger it gets. >> mason: after the sudden death of brother morris nearly seven years ago, one of the world's most popular groups went silent. ♪ >> mason: but now the two surviving brothers working at barry's home studio in miami are taking tentative steps to bring back the bee gees. >> the blend of the voices are great. even nostalgic. >> mason: it's not their first comeback, of course. ♪ you can tell by the way i... ♪ >> mason: over their 50-year career, the bee gees have... endured the disco back lash to sell more than 200 million records. the brothers' distinctive three-part harmony is still unmistakable.
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♪ staying alive >> mason: is that something that you develop or was it always just there? >> we never questioned the harmonys. we just sang what we felt. >> mason: the three oldest gibbs' boys started singing together as kids in england. ♪ >> mason: when the family emigrated to australia in 1958 the brothers got a record deal and a tv show. but the bee gees wanted a bigger stage. >> we knew that to reach the rest of the world we had to either be in the states or london. we had to be where the action was. >> mason: in 1967 they boarded a ship back to england. you didn't know enough to be scared at the time. >> we were in our own heads already stars. it's the belief that you're
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already a star before you become one that makes you one. >> mason: within weeks of arriving in london, the brothers were signed by producer robert stigwood. >> once he saw us, he went, oh, no. 300 pounds. >> mason: is that what you said really. >> he said go buy some clothes. >> mason: stigwood quickly sent them into the studio. >> we're still looking for somebody that we can say, listen, this could be a hit. >> mason: they went out in the stair well to run through some ideas. >> while we were singing, the lights went out. ♪ in the event of something happening to me ♪ >> and that inspired the idea of being trapped in a coal mine. ♪ have you seen my wife, mr. jones ♪ >> mason: new york mining disaster landed them on the charts. by the end of 1967, they'd
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have three more hits. the bee gees were international stars. ♪ a broken heart >> mason: but after a five-year wrong their songs suddenly stopped making the charts. >> what we called the wilderness. >> mason: you called it the wilderness? i mean, do you sit there during that and say i've written all these hits. how come i can't write one now? >> i think we felt and the industry felt we had run our course. >> mason: did you think it was over? >> yeah. >> mason: it was eric clapton who recommended a change of scene: miami. >> this place looked a little different, i guess. >> pretty much. >> mason: we went back with barry and robin to criteria studios where in 1975, they turned their career around. when you came to the studio were you consciously trying to reinvent yourself? >> i don't know if we thought about it as reinventing ourselves. it was just about writing something that got us excited.
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recording something that got us excited. >> being inspired. >> mason: they found that inspiration on a daily drive over a causeway to miami beach. >> it was a click ity click noise that the car made every night when we were coming back. it still happens today when you go over this bridge it goes clickity click. ♪. >> mason: jive talking took the bee gee back to the top of the charts during those recording sessions, the producer accidentally found a new bee gees sound. >> nights on broadway main vocals and he sort of said, you know, can one of you scream in tune? >> anthony: that's how barry found his famous falsetto. >> it was literally a discovery.
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>> mason: as their white soul blend of funk and falsetto was producing another string of hits, stigwood asked them for a few new tracks for a small film he was making about the disco scene. >> we didn't really foresee it, certainly how big it would be. >> mason: saturday night fever wasn't just a monster hit record. it was a worldwide cultural tidal wave. number one for six months, it would sell 40 million copies. by april 1978 the bee gees had written five of the top ten& songs on the charts. not since the beatles had one band so dominated the air waves. you were everywhere. in the world. >> yes. extremely overexposed. but it's the truth.
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we were having too much success. >> mason: when the disco back lash hit, the bee gees were the punching bag. i mean at some point in the middle of the back lash, did you recent it? >> of course. you can't be wonderful to everybody one minute and terrible to everybody the next. we were pretty well devastated by it. that took us about two or three years to regroup mentally, emotionally. you know, i can't wear a white suit. we can't wear things around our necks. other people can but we can't. >> mason: so the brothers retreated writing hits for other artists. like barbra streisand. deonwarwick. and kenny rogers and dolly parton. ♪ that is what we are >> mason: in 1997 after their music was belittled by a british talk show host. >> barry gibbs famously snaped
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on the air. >> i got the sense you were saying, look, we're tired of being the joke. >> yes. we just didn't want to be... not today. >> mason: but that same year the bee gees were recognized by the rock'n'roll hall of fame. >> tonight i think we've come home. we thank you. >> reporter: respect had finally been paid. >> and then in 2003, morris gibb who was just 53 died suddenly from a tangled intestine. >> when we lost mo, he was absolutely fine one day and 48 hours later he was dead. >> mason: it looked like a bee gees were finished. they had already lost their youngest brother andy who died in 1988 after years of battling drugs. barry and robin admit morris's death divided them. you said you were afraid of him. >> i was afraid because i knew where barry was emotionally. and i knew his way of
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expressing himself was, well, by not going forward. by not being a bee gee. >> i wanted to keep the bee gees as three of us. i wanted that to be the only thing any one ever saw again. >> mason: after talking it over, barry and robin are in harmony again. >> it's time for us now to move on. without ever letting go of mo. >> reporter: to celebrate the bee gees' 50 years of making records a series of releases is planned over the next year. and barry and robin have started writing together again. >> we still have a lot of music in us. >> mason: they've written or performed 15 number-one hits. that music never left us. but the bee gees themselves are back. crime in new york city has dropped 27% since 2001. response times in madrid... ...have been cut by 25%.
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>> mason: here's a look at the week just passed by the numbers. ♪ if they say why >> mason: michael jackson's "this is it" with paranormal activity became the weekend's top movie. >> if carbon monoxide had been the cause of that man's death his skin would be cherry red which it isn't. >> mason: five weeks into new tv season the cbs crime drama ncsi remains the number one prime time show. the novel "bush" by sapphire, the book behind the new movie "precious" is the number one paper bark work of fiction. number one for non-fiction is a first person account of author tucker max's life on the wild side. speaking of books, more young
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americans than ever are hitting the books at college according to a study out this past week. the latest available data show that a record 11.5 million young adults are attending two- for four-year colleges. ♪ you would not believe your eyes ♪ >> mason: who has the week's number one song? owl city. that's who. with fire fly. >> what's up, everybody. >> mason: on the subject of michael jackson,. >> this year's biggest costume for 2009, mj. >> mason: according to a much viewed video on you-tube, he's number one on the top ten halloween costume list. beating out runner-up lady gaga. the week just passed by numbers. now to bob schieffer in washington for a look at what's ahead on "face the nation." good morning, bob. >> schieffer: good morning, anthony. we'll talk to white house advisor david axelrod about the war in afghanistan and the
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white house war with conservative talk show hosts. >> mason: bob schieffer, thanks, we'll be watching. ahead now on sunday morning, bill geist. >> reporter: meet me in st. louis for the moustached american of the year award. i'm a nominee. huhh... a spider web.
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is it real? no. just decorations. i'm going to make the biggest pumpkin of all. the biggest pumpkin? i need to make a witch's hat. in case my hat falls off. it's pointy and then... a spike. mamma... the best treats are the ones you get at home. rice krispies. childhood is calling. ( laughing )
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the contest was decided by a hair. well, by a lot of hairs actually. and if you're asking yourself what contests we're talking about, why the answer is right
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under bill geist's nose. ♪ moustache >> reporter: the moustache is back. >> here in the city of st. louis, i proclaim october 30, 2009 as moustache day. >> reporter: it was back with a vengeance friday in st. louis, a mecca of the moustache-ios. home to what they call the world's largest moustache. i was recently notified that i was a nominee for the coveted robert goulet memorial moustached american of the year awashed presented by the american moustache institute. i wondered, who are these guys? >> they're good, density is good. >> reporter: aaron curlit is chairman of the institute. his office is a shrine to the moustache. >> we fight for the drown troden moustached american
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people who in the past have had no one else to fight on their behalf. >> reporter: the favorability rating for moustaches right now worldwide? >> 73%. >> reporter: as of this moment. >> right now. >> reporter: dan cal lan is director of research. >> from this kind of information we've created almost a weather map of moustaches. >> reporter: really? >> i've had my moustache for, oh, a good 19, 20 years. >> i grew this this morning. >> reporter: they conducted a group therapy session last week at a local sports bar. >> five years ago i was looking for a job. you know, i had to trim the ends off in order to appear a little bit more like somebody employable. >> reporter: it's not easy being a member of the moustached minority. >> just about every day you're looked at differently. looked down upon. not given the assignments. the heart break. >> reporter: how have you dealt with that? >> support groups. being among our people. >> reporter: to glorify the ununshaven, the american
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moustache institute presents the moustached american of the year award. >> it's a great award because it recognized the cause of the moustached american people. >> reporter: i was honored to be among 18 nominees for the goulet this year but, wow, the competition was tough. attorney general eric holder. >> the first moustached american attorney general since 1946. >> reporter: white house advisor david axelrod. >> whose moustache actually engineered the current president into office. >> reporter: popular athletes. some extraordinary tus tarbs. the prohibitive favorite was some airline pilot. you're a pilot, right. >> i've been a pilot my whole life. >> reporter: anything interesting ever happen at work? >> hardly ever but there's this one time that it did. just recently too. >> reporter: really? captain sully sullenberger said his plane hit some geese and lost power. where did you land it? >> right in the middle of the hudson river. >> reporter: oh, that guy.
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i figured i'd better hit the campaign trail. front owe. would you vote for me? i tried to rustle up some votes on fifth avenue in new york. >> australia. >> reporter: you're egyptian. and my campaign went global. great. but would it be enough? i want that thank all of you to koch out to 'stache bash 2009. thank you very much. the winner of the goulet award was announced friday night in st. louis. >> all right. you moustacheed mad men. >> reporter: appropriately enough john oates of hall and oats fame performed in moustache for the first time since he shockingly saved 20 years ago. >> i decided to go a little bit modern, you know, a little
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bit edgy. i don't know i'm hormoneally capable of actually growing that type of growth. >> now it is time to announce the winner. >> reporter: when the moment arrived chairman aaron curlit came on stage to announce the moustached american of 2009. would it, in fact be sully, the attorney general, me? who? clay zavada, the relief pitcher for the arizona diamond backs. moustached american of the year? sully, we were robbed. >> but, you know, i'm okay with not winning. once you've learned to harness the power of the moustache and you realize what you've been given.... >> reporter: i'm getting all the validation i need in my new support group. i think it would be the easiest thing in the world for me to go in and shave. i'm sure you've all felt that
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way but i'm not going to do it. >> for your bravery. ( applause ) there's been a lot of news lately about drivers getting distracted by text messages. as the nation's number-one wireless company, we have something to say about that. while we're usually all for texting, we're not for anything that endangers your life or the lives of others. so we're asking everyone that gets in the driver's seat to keep their hands on the wheel and off their phone. honestly, no message is that important.
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>> anthony: we leave you this sunday morning after halloween in erie county, new york, a home to creepy, crawly orb weaver spiders.
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>> mason: i'm anthony mason. thanks for watching. we hope you'll join charles osgood back here next sunday morning. captioning sponsored by cbs and johnson & johnson, where quality products for the american family have been a tradition for

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